If you’re going to invest in an anvil, you want one that will handle the projects you plan on doing and allow you to work on bigger, more complicated items as you set your sights higher and your skills improve.
Budget, of course, will guide your decision as well. That’s one major reason the NC Anvil wound up in the first position below.
The price is far more affordable compared to other anvils of similar quality and dimensions.
It gives you plenty of workspace for projects, and the unique designs lets you practice a variety of skills.
It’s an all-around good investment that will serve you well for many years.
Best Anvils for Blacksmithing
After doing some considerable research, I’ve found what I believe to be the best three anvils for blacksmithing.
Continue on below to read through the quick but comprehensive reviews for each product.
The NC Anvil is one that offers a unique design, mainly in its thin heel design.
This engineering lets a user hook and turn easier with an improved fit that’s easy on the wrist. When it comes to repetitive motions, this is extremely helpful.
Check out some specifications:
- 3.5-inch face width.
- 11-inch face length.
- 8-inch horn.
- 80 pounds.
The NC Anvil is on the smaller end of anvils, making it a great starting point for beginners or hobbyists.
It features an extended, thin surface area as well as a long horn, giving plenty of room for small-scale projects.
As one of the most popular anvils available in the US, NC anvils are reliable and boast ductile iron cast construction.
Their designs feature clip horns, turning holes, turning cams, and both hardy and pritchel holes, giving you everything you need to succeed.
- Adequate surface area for small projects and hobbies.
- Lightweight for easy transport.
- High-quality cast iron construction.
- Excellent budget option.
- Durable face.
- Iron construction doesn’t meet steel standards.
- Lighter weight isn’t suitable for heavy-duty use.
This Peddinghaus forged anvil from the Ridgid Store is made from drop-forged, high-quality steel – so you know it can take a hit.
It weighs 77 pounds, putting it on the smaller end of anvils that are good for jewelry making and smaller products.
Below you can find some of this anvil’s specifications:
- 3-inch face width.
- 8-inch face length.
- 5.5-inch horn.
- 77 pounds.
With tons of experience under their belt, this company knows how to construct a solid, reliable product.
The Model 5 isn’t what one would call a “pretty” anvil. It’s an average shape and size, and Ridgid obviously didn’t feel appearance was high on the priority list.
But what this anvil lacks in visual appeal, it makes up for in valuable features.
The Model 5 anvil has plenty of surface area, leaving enough room to use essential tools and complete projects as a hobbyist, amateur, or even experienced blacksmith.
The dual horn configuration is super useful to anyone who knows how to use an anvil, and it also includes a full 1-inch hardy hole as a bonus.
The face rebound isn’t the best in the world, but it’s good when you consider the size and cost of this anvil.
- Solid ring.
- Surface area gives plenty of space.
- Easy to move and transfer.
- Smaller size for professional users.
- Face rebound is less than perfect.
The last anvil on this list is another Ridgid Peddinghaus forged anvil. As opposed to Model 5 listed above, model 12 is larger and offers different specifications.
You can find that information below:
- 5.25-inch face width.
- 12-inch face length.
- 8.5-inch horn.
- 275 pounds.
As you can see, this anvil has a much larger surface area to work with than the Model 5.
It’s also almost 200 pounds heavier and falls into the heaviest categories of anvils, making it excellent for large-scale projects and serious blacksmiths.
The surface of this anvil is professionally hardened to give users a nice ring and excellent rebound.
Made from forged steel, you can bet this anvil will last a long time.
At a larger size and heavier weight than the previous anvils, more experienced users will likely find this anvil better suited to their activities.
While not as easy to move around, it screams quality.
- Top face is ground and induction hardened for excellent rebound.
- Includes a pritchel hole and hardy hole for accessories and tools.
- Heavy-duty, high-grade steel is very durable.
- Face maintains smoothness over long-term use.
- Hefty weight makes it difficult to move.
Blacksmith Anvil Buyer’s Guide
Before purchasing a blacksmith anvil, it’s best to know exactly what you’re looking for.
This buyer’s guide provides you with important information to direct your buying process by showcasing the features you should consider.
All anvil sizes are measured in weight, and each weight is best for a different kind of work.
Your anvil’s size and weight should be appropriate to the size of materials on which you intend work.
The lightweight anvils are less than 100 pounds. These anvils are best for training and learning the trade and are also used for making jewelry.
The heaviest anvils are over 200 pounds. These heavy-duty anvils are typically used for large-scale metal projects.
In the middle, you can find anvils weighing anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds. These anvils are best for general blacksmithing and farrier work.
Most blacksmiths agree that the heavier the anvil, the easier it is to use.
The material of your anvil is significant as it can make or break your work. Overall, you can find anvils in the following materials:
- Wrought iron.
- Cast iron.
The most common material used for anvils today is steel.
Steel has very favorable properties for forging. Plus, it’s super common and prevalent, so it’s easy to mass-produce them.
The second most common material is cast iron. While cast iron is strong, it’s more brittle. These anvils also have a lower face rebound.
Face rebound describes the hardness of the surface. The harder the metal, the greater the face rebound.
Essentially, you want a more rigid surface because it will cause the anvil to reflect back harder on the item you’re working on.
Overall, steel anvils rate the best in this category and are often selected as the choice of anvils by blacksmiths.
However, some blacksmiths will use cast iron or wrought iron anvils with a welded steel face attached to the top.
In most cases, anvils are priced based on their weight. So, the logical conclusion is that the heavier the anvil, the more expensive it will be.
Unfortunately, based on the type of blacksmithing work you perform, this is a necessary evil.
Not only are the heavier anvils more expensive overall, but their price per pound typically increases by size too.
For instance, the average cost of smaller anvils, or an anvil under 100 pounds, ranges between $2 to $5 per pound.
On the other hand, a larger anvil weighing over 200 pounds can cost a higher rate of $7 to $9 per pound.
It’s understandable that someone purchasing any kind of tool or product might come across a few questions.
For that reason, I’ve answered a couple of the most common questions below to further help you make an informed decision.
Is a Single or Double Horn Anvil Better?
The horn of an anvil is used for hammering out curved pieces of work. Most anvils have just one horn, while some have two.
Since a single-horn anvil is more common and uses less material, it will generally cost less than a double-horn anvil.
Which is better really comes down to preference. If you forge a lot of curved pieces, you may find that having two horns is helpful.
Iron or Steel Anvil – Which One Is Better?
Iron and steel are both high-quality and ubiquitous materials used to construct anvils. Generally, steel is considered the best material to go with.
This rugged metal offers the best face rebound, which will reflect better work.
Iron anvils, both cast and wrought, are also sturdy and reliable, but they offer less face rebound.
That being said, you can find anvils made of iron that feature a steel face on top to improve rebound.
Well, know that you’ve seen the best options out there, all that’s left is for you to make a decision. If you’re still stumped, I would do two things.
First, go check out my blacksmithing articles here to get a feel of the type of projects you’d like to start with and what it will take to make your dreams become reality.
Then, just bite the bullet and go with the NC Anvil. Knives, S-hooks, skewers, tongs, you name it, and you’ll find the NC Anvil is just right for the job.
Later down the road if you find that you really need a top-of-the-line monster capable of standing up to daily use, you could always sell your starter anvil and pick up the Ridgid 69642.